Saving and selling scrap metal is an excellent way to bring in some extra cash – in many cases you are literally turning someone else's trash into your treasure. At the same time, you want to make sure you maximize your profits. Avoid the following mistakes that can cut into your bottom line.
#1: Wasting time on metal you can't scrap
Not all scrap yards buy all types of metal. This is why you must spend some time learning how to recognize different types of metals and especially on recognizing the metals that are a waste of time. As a general rule, non-ferrous metal is the metal that scrap yards buy. These include aluminum, copper, and stainless steel – which are also the one most likely to bring in cash. If you aren't sure if the metal is non-ferrous, grab a magnet. Non-ferrous metal is not magnetic, so this is the quickest way to check.
#2: Not preparing the scrap before drop off
There are a couple of good reasons to prep your metal before you head to the scrap yard. Most importantly is so that you can be sure that you know what you have. Cables, in particular, can house a wide range of materials from well-paying copper to useless fibers. The only way to know is to strip the cable covering to see what is inside. The second reason is that many scrap yards pay more if the metal is prepped. A wire stripper, for example, is a relatively inexpensive investment that makes short work of stripping the insulation off copper wire, but it can increase your copper wire profits by quite a bit. As a general rule, most scrap yards pay more for metal that is already divided out from other components because this saves the time.
#3: Ignoring the daily payout prices
Scrap metal prices aren't static, they change from day to day. The key to getting the best payout for your hard work is to be familiar with your local scrap yards. Take note of which yards buy which type of scrap, and then make note of how often they update their buying prices. Then, before taking in your scrap call around to get the day's prices and take the scrap to the highest paying scrap yard. Another thing to find out is if a yard price matches. Some will meet or beat the price of any other yard in the area, which means you can take everything to one yard while still getting the top payment for your scrap metal.
For more help, contact a scrap buyer in your area.